A Florida couple with a turbulent past and troubled present remained locked up in a Dublin jail on Tuesday after Bland County police charged them on Friday with hauling five children in the back of a sweltering U-Haul truck. The arrest came a little over 10 years after three Ohio women traveling through the county were accused of doing the same thing.
Delbray Delgado, 31, of Orlando and Alicia Monique Castillo-Reyes, 34, of Winter Park were given court-appointed attorneys on Monday during their Bland County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court arraignments. They are both charged with seven felony counts of child neglect and one count of possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute it.
According to Sheriff Jason Ramsey and court documents, the suspects were arrested on Friday afternoon after a deputy stopped the U-Haul truck they were traveling in on U.S. 52 near the South Gap exit.
Deputy J.P. Agee and a state trooper pulled the truck over after getting reports that a man had struck a 1-year-old child in the mouth at the Love’s Truck Stop and had made threats toward other children.
Ramsey said Delgado and Castillo-Reyes were in the truck’s cab with two infants while the rest – the oldest being 16 -- were in the back sitting on piles of clothing and had a cooler stocked with drinks. Highs were in 80s on Friday, and Ramsey estimated that the temperature in the back of the truck was around 95 or 100 degrees.
“(They were) all hot and sweaty,” Ramsey said.
Deputies searched the truck’s cab and found baggies, straws, scales, spoons and white powder that tested positive for cocaine, the sheriff said.
Rescue squad personnel checked out the children at the scene before social services took them into custody.
Ramsey said the family had apparently been evicted from their Florida residence and were on their way to Pennsylvania.
Self-employed as a landscaper, Delgado has a prior criminal record that includes multiple drug offenses in Florida, according to court records.
Florida police also documented two incidents last year in which Delgado was involved in altercations with Castillo-Reyes.
In June 2018, he was accused of kicking the door of her residence, which struck her.
In October, police were called to the same residence after Castillo-Reyes, who was pregnant with their first child, accused him of pushing her against a wall “before forcefully grabbing her face,” according to court records.
“There is history of domestic violence in the household with Mr. Delgado having previously been arrested for aggravated battery (domestic violence),” a Florida officer wrote.
Unemployed and receiving food stamps, Castillo-Reyes, the mother of all seven children, has a DUI on her criminal record, according to Bland County court documents.
Both she and Delgado are being held without bond in the New River Valley Regional Jail.
Their preliminary hearings have been set for Nov. 18.
In August 2009, three Ohio residents were arrested near the Bland exit after police found their five children and a dog in the back of a U-Haul. All three women were riding in the rental truck’s air-conditioned cab when police stopped it.
Officers found marijuana, ecstasy and cocaine in one of the mother’s bags, and all three women were eventually convicted of child neglect, which carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison.
Jeffrey Simmons can be reached at 228-6611, extension 19, or firstname.lastname@example.org.